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John Campbell, 4th Duke of Argyll, about 1693 - 1770. Soldier 1767


  • Scottish Art
Gainsborough's full-length portrait of 4th Duke of Argyll shows him in his magnificent peer's robes, a perfect subject for the artist's dazzling brushwork. The Duke rests one hand on his coronet and in the other holds the baton of Hereditary Master of the King's Household. He wears the splendid chain of the Order of the Thistle. He inherited the dukedom when he was sixty-seven, having had a distinguished career as a soldier. In 1745 he defended the west of Scotland against Prince Charles Edward Stewart's ('Bonnie Prince Charlie's') forces, and in 1746 succeeded the Duke of Cumberland as commander in Scotland.

Glossary Open

Order of the Thistle

The highest royal honour in Scotland, which has existed for many centuries, though at times it has fallen into disuse. Since the early 19th century there have generally been a maximum of sixteen knights of the order at any one time, though others may be created by passing special laws. The order has its own chapel at St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh.

Order of the Thistle


  • Acc. No. PG 1596
  • Medium Oil on canvas
  • Size 235.00 x 154.30 cm (framed: 265.50 x 183.00 x 13.50 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1953